Silently I'd stare at those wide, open spaces between our house and our neighbors, feeling gratitude that no longer did mere driveways separate us from houses on either side. Now we had whole green meadows to wander through, wild animals to watch and hundreds of trees everywhere.
It was invigorating. I felt I could do every task with energy to spare. (Mostly. Some tasks always felt like a struggle--and that concerned me, frankly.)
The first two years were pretty great, that is.
But over this past year? I'd step outside the backdoor and think, "Good grief. The weeds in the garden! They're three-feet tall. And we need to buy some more rock salt so to kill the weeds taking over the gravel in front of the barn and I need 500 more bricks to finish my sidewalk out back. I'm worried about the peach tree that is barely hanging on and may go the way of the apple tree we lost and the whole orchard needs to be fertilized. Gah."
Stepping out farther, behind the barn, all those meadows desperately needed mowing, but the air was too hot for me to mow and Tom's tractors each had mechanical problems. And then I'd nearly step upon another dead bird which reminded me of the time our chipmunk fell out of a tree and died and the day I mowed over my garter snake buddy and a couple frogs, too, and how a hummingbird flew into our window and broke its neck (and how I'd still not recovered from any of that).
So I'd trudge to the house, into the back porch which always screamed, "Paint me! I am dirty and look like something from an abandoned house in the desert." Then into the kitchen with the unfinished floor I'd been working on when Tom was laid-off, but hadn't had the desire to finish since. Then into our bedroom with the color of walls that made me roll my eyes, but which would take way too much effort to paint, what with Tom's guitars stuffed under the bed and the big furniture in there.
So I'd collapse on the bed and take a nap, wander back outside in the cool of the evening to my dreamy patio, one I've always wanted, with cool breezes blowing through the green, green trees and blue skies and I knew I should be overwhelmed by the glory of it all! But instead I just felt, well, overwhelmed. As if I was emotionally unable to appreciate what I'd been given, as though my eyes of appreciation had been plucked right out of my face.
Yet this was what I'd dreamed of for 35 years! So why did I feel as though I'd been dragging Grace around by the neck, asking her to bless me with some joy?
And well, when everything becomes a struggle and you despise what you once loved (even though you're doing all you can to get the love back) and you find yourself dreaming smaller, simpler dreams..... well..... chances are Grace walked out the door long ago, but you were so busy trying to force things, to make things work and good again, that you didn't even notice Grace was gone.
And you got used to living without her. Struggle and that overwhelmed feeling just became your motivation and part of who you are.
That's my story, anyway. And finally two weeks ago I stood out on our acres and said to the sky, " Oh, how I miss Grace! Life was sweet and glorious for lots of years with her. So why keep living in this 'overwhelmed realm' when I have other choices? When I can go out and find Grace in the place I'm supposed to be?"
So there you have my story. I've given you pieces here and there over the past year, but I've held back much because I didn't want mine to become a Whiner's Blog. And not even Tom knew the depth of overwhelmingness I'd swum out to and was drowning...gulp, gulp, gulp... beneath.
But now he knows and so do you and the weight of pretense dropped from my shoulders. Thus, my anticipation in finding the house where Grace waits for me--and finding my true, God-made self waiting there, also. Oh, what a reunion it will be and you know? The reunion has even begun already, for the struggle is gone and Grace is back.
This is different than when we just stop trying to make things better in our relationships or daily doings, when we cease caring because someone/something becomes hard to deal with. This is about when we honestly keep trying to improve our situation with our whole hearts, yet nothing gets better, only worse, after a good, fair amount of time has passed. That's how we can tell Grace has left the building.
Oh! I was too, too happy to find these yesterday:
Michael Collings' semi-final performance on Britain's Got Talent.
And Michael's final performance.
What a delight! When he makes a CD, I am sooo buying one. :)